back to article Euro clouds lodge another complaint against Microsoft over anti-competitive licenses

A trade group representing 24 cloud infrastructure providers in Europe is filing a formal competition complaint with the European Commission over Microsoft's licensing of software in the cloud. The legal missive, sent by Cloud Infrastructure Service Providers in Europe (CISPE) to the EC's Directorate-General for Competition, …

  1. 43300 Silver badge

    Big issues around session-based remote desktops too. The terminal server role on Windows Server is fine for standard use (i.e. Office, etc), but they are in the process of crippling that - the Office 365 apps are not supported on Windows Server 2022 at all, and only supported on Server 2016 and 2019 until 2025. Office 2021 LTSC is supported on Server 2022, but is only supported for use with the 365 cloudy services until 2026 - and of course requires a load of extra licenses in addition to the 365 subscripton already being paid for monthly. All of which makes it difficult to see terminal servers as having any future beyond the fairly short term.

    The alternative is Azure Virtual Desktop, running either W10 or W11 multi-session - so basically a terminal server with a 'consumer' edition GUI. But this can only be run either on Azure, or if on-prem the only permitted hypervisor is Azure Stack HCI - the licensing doesn't allow it to be used on any other cloudy services, or any other hypervisors.

    If you use ESXi and want to continue on-prem, you are basically screwed. Ditto if you use AWS or any other cloudy platform.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well, they obviously decided that even with handling your authentication for you it was still too hard for them to rifle through your intellectual property and sniff your traffic - forcing you to store and run it all on their systems makes that ever so much easier..

      Yes, I don't trust them. Never have, why?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Big issues around session-based remote desktops too. The terminal server role on Windows Server is fine for standard use (i.e. Office, etc), but they are in the process of crippling that - the Office 365 apps are not supported on Windows Server 2022 at all, and only supported on Server 2016 and 2019 until 2025.

      Yes, i've been looking at that with some disbelief. I'm not really convinced that Microsoft realises that they are merrily slitting their own throats.

      We run a very common solution in our industry which requires a MSI installation of office to generated documents. This rules out office 2021 which only provides CTR versions, and being an onsite solution and requiring RDS for remote users.

      Microsoft have effectively demanded that the people making this software either massively re-architecture their software away from the existing server/client model to a cloud system or switch from MS Office for document generation to something like ODF and migrate remote users from RDS to Citrix.

      The latter appears to require about one hundredth of the work of the former, so i'd think they'll be doing that.

      1. 43300 Silver badge

        "We run a very common solution in our industry which requires a MSI installation of office to generated documents. This rules out office 2021 which only provides CTR versions, and being an onsite solution and requiring RDS for remote users."

        Think the last version with an option for an MSI installer was 2016, wasn't it? 2019 and 2021 have been CTR only, and the 365 subscription version has been for quite a while too.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Think the last version with an option for an MSI installer was 2016, wasn't it? 2019 and 2021 have been CTR only, and the 365 subscription version has been for quite a while too.

          Yes.

          However buying office 2021 to replace office 2016 is pointless in any case; office 2016's EOL is October 2025 and Office 2021 EOL is October 2026 (courtesy of not having a 5 year extended support period) so it's not like any sane person was going to buy it anyway.

          1. 43300 Silver badge

            Watch out for the end of supported compatibility with the 365 services - Office 2016 and 2019 are both 10th October 2023.

            Of course, it might continue to work fine with the cloudy services after that date, but...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: migrate remote users from RDS to Citrix.

        "... appears to require about one hundredth of the work of the former..."

        Given the fragments I've come across about Citrix, I find that an utterly terrifying concept. One of the handful of things MS has done right and managed to not break is Remote Desktop - and now they're working at making it worthless.... *sigh*

    3. MrReynolds2U

      I'm running virtual Win10 on Hyper-V on-prem and although it's a fight to understand the correct licensing, I'm pretty sure that just having 365 Enterprise subscription allows this. Unfortunately the software we're using only works with MS Office, otherwise I would have used an alternative. Could utilise EXSi or Xen, but I'm just more familiar with Hyper-V.

      I had an MSP recently try and sell us a rather convoluted cloud-based, locked-down, virtual desktop and server solution utilising VMWare. I advised TPTB that for an initial CapEx equivalent to 3 months of their quoted cost, we could run our own on-prem solution and retain control of our own data. There's still a bit of push-back from those who think "cloud" is best but I've got plenty of horror stories to drop on them when the time comes.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Plus ça change..

    OK, be honest, is anyone who has followed Microsoft through the ages actually surprised it was doing this? Leopard, spots and all that.

    This is also why us grey beards look askance at the whole "being friendly with Linux" stuff - anyone hoping that their ultimate aim is somehow to the benefit of what is effectively their competition (and demonstrator that you CAN make a much safer OS) is being hopelessly naïve. If you need any help with that, I have one name for you: Lennart Poettering. 'nuff said.

    1. boboM

      Re: Plus ça change..

      of course not, they're still good ol' MS. Stop using any and all MS products FFS, every alternative is better and cheaper, it's just lazy IT.

      1. 43300 Silver badge

        Re: Plus ça change..

        in many business environemnts, it is really not an option for many reasons. That certainly isn't a good situation, but it's the reality!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Plus ça change..

          We're about to drop quite a bit of money on new IT, and Microsoft products are explicitly banned by management (amongst others) as for once they're clued up about risk management. That said, we can do this because we start from scratch, and I understand why that is harder for established enterprice environments.

          After all, entrapment is a mandatory design feature for Microsoft products.

          1. boboM

            Re: Plus ça change..

            Finally a company with thinking people, done same at ours; Office is banned, only by great exception can users get Excel if they really need it. Everything else on Google apps/Gmail. It feels very liberating.

            1. 43300 Silver badge

              Re: Plus ça change..

              Hmm - not sure that buddying up with Google rather than Microsoft is really an improvement!

            2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
              Childcatcher

              Re: Everything else on Google apps/Gmail

              Oh... A case of out of the frying pan and into an even bigger fire.

              Google is IMhO a worse solution than anything MS could dream up on a bad day.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Everything else on Google apps/Gmail

                When the topic is protecting information from third parties, both are equally bad. Just don't.

                By the way, the sneaky hidden one in this picture is Adobe. Just stick wireshark on a data tap (SPAN port or a small managed switch set to port mirroring) and have a look. Also have a look what happens if you want to have an Adobe designed web page, their equivalent of Google fonts is called Typekit.

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Plus ça change..

              If you're based in Europe I would be very, VERY careful using Google. You should also be that when you're in the US (but "just" for the usual intercept issue, in Europe you're likely to fall foul of GDPR.

              In that context I'm guessing it's back to DPA for the UK, but given that Google is actually embedded right inside of HMRC to the point of avoiding the UK government's secure email system* I suspect that nobody actually cares. It's just the pleb's data so who cares, right?

              * run dig +short mx digital.hmrc.gov.uk from a Mac or Linux prompt and see for yourself, and this has been in place for more than a decade now. Still feel safe?

              1. 43300 Silver badge

                Re: Plus ça change..

                "n that context I'm guessing it's back to DPA for the UK"

                No - the GDPR regs were incorporated into national law by acts of parliament in each country, so it's very much still in force in the UK. And making any changes would cause all sorts of issues for many companies.

  3. naive

    MS is either the new Standard Oil or they are part of the US war against Europe

    It is interesting AWS, HP, IBM and Google are not having the same complaints.

    Since they are not complaining, MS offers them licensing conditions they do not consider to be unfavorable, it is reasonable to assume they would be smart enough to discover unfair practices by MS.

    Either MS follows a strategy to kill the small fishes first, or they participate in the war USA is currently conducting to completely destroy the European economy.

    Removing the ability to host computer systems would a significant strategic win in this war for the US.

    1. fg_swe Bronze badge

      European Weakness and Romanticism

      For some reason European voters are for Greenies and other Marxists. People who want to deprive us of competitive energy sources such as Uranium and Coal. Greenies are programmed by America-WEF to damage European economies and their roots are in Maoism. Of course Mao wants China to be strong and everybody else to be weak.

      Voters need to grow a pair and get rid of these traitors.

      Then we can again have competitive energy prices and run data centers here.

      Secondly, we need an Airbus-like cooperation of European nations to create alternative IT systems. Think of a nicely integrated solution of European hardware, Linux, a sleek QT GUI, LibreOffice, NextCloud, OnlyOffice, Jitsi and so on. Using Modula-2, Oberon, SPARK Ada, seL4 where it makes sense. Italian mechanical hardware design, French CompCert compiler, British CPU, German HA OS and so on.

      We need to assemble the existing pieces into something competitive. Something which is not infested with key loggers and other extraction mechanism (Ala Google Docs). Police wiretapping must be transparent and defined by law, which is not hard if you think about it. Require people to post their keymat to the local police station. Much better than the covert subversion we currently have.

    2. VoiceOfTruth

      Re: MS is either the new Standard Oil or they are part of the US war against Europe

      -> the war USA is currently conducting to completely destroy the European economy

      Now Europe is buying American LNG, which is considerably more expensive than Russian gas. There is a price for being America's fools.

      1. Binraider Silver badge

        Re: MS is either the new Standard Oil or they are part of the US war against Europe

        Qatar, Algeria, Norway, and other LNG suppliers have raised prices every bit as much as the US has. Unfair to say they are America's fools - it is the whole world market indulging. OPEC doing the same with oil pricing - Russia's large capacity used to be a check on OPEC price gouging.

        Europe was beholden to outside sources of energy from the day that someone realised that coal reserves would not cover. William Stanley Jevons accurately predicted the downfall of the British Empire as far back as 1865, using predicted coal reserves and rate-of-increase of coal consumption as a basis for the model.

        Europe's (including the UK) economy is dependent on importing "lower value" stuff, and either turning it into higher value goods and services. If you can't buy Russian, because "reasons" and the demand is still there, where else are you going to go, and what happens to the economy? It tanks, as has been happening since March. The rest of the LNG supply chain will twist the price as far as far as they think they can get away with, because of the lack of an alternative ready to go.

        There are realistically only two exit plans from the current situation, one a whole lot more horrible to contemplate than the other. Tanking economies are a historical road to war. The alternative to that is we expedite alternatives at a rate of knots hitherto unknown.

        Germany was daft to shut down it's Nuke fleet, and other European states, including the UK, need to get over themselves and build at a rate of knots never seen before. Windmills and Solar usefully offset quite a bit of demand, but can not, and should not be the whole solution by any rational measure.

        Some minor problems called "planning permission" tend to get in the way of that.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. fg_swe Bronze badge

            Old Tale About the King in the Mine

            As the old tale says - the king is not dead, he is only resting somewhere in a mine !

            https://www.volksliederarchiv.de/der-alte-barbarossa/

            1. fg_swe Bronze badge

              Sodium Reactors of the Dnepr Vikings

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4gd8bwnFow

              https://www.gen-4.org/gif/upload/docs/application/pdf/2019-01/gifiv_webinar_pakhomov_19_dec_2018_final.pdf

              Apparently, liquid sodium is much less of a problem than one would think.

      2. prh99

        Re: MS is either the new Standard Oil or they are part of the US war against Europe

        U.S LNG is sold at the Henry Hub benchmark price, energy companies like France's Total Energy and other mostly European companies buy it and sell it at a higher prices cause they can, especially in Europe since Russia has largely removed it's self from competition.

        Of course Europe got in bed with Russia for cheap gas etc even after Crimea and raise big stink when Trump sanction Nord Stream 2...Whine all you want, you've got no one else to blame. I suspect they'll be making similar mistakes with China, and regretting it when Beijing finally invades Taiwan.

        Let's not forget the sovereign debt trap the EU is creating for Ukraine with their loans. While the U.S has given non-repayable grants.

  4. Kev18999

    Like all MS products and services, they offer you basically free software then your IT mgr doesn't realize MS makes money on servers and services. You can have all the VDI on Azure for free but the real cost is on moving your data and infrastructure. MS will not give license discounts if you build your VDI on AWS or Google. It is basically luring customers over to their Cloud offerings by overcharging if you don't use their cloud services.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like